Busy Season At Your Funeral Home? Take A Break, You Deserve It


Busy season.

Many people may be surprised to find that the funeral business has a busy season. Many people may also be surprised to know that our busy season tends to fall right around the holidays.

For my community, it seems that the death notices start to get a little thicker right around Thanksgiving, and it goes well through the start of the New Year. I try to make these days as easy as I can on the families I serve, while sometimes forgetting about the weight that I’m carrying on my own shoulders.

Not only can these days contribute to depression for funeral directors since they tend to miss out on a lot of personal affairs, but with the winter also comes cold and flu season. I myself have become a professional at applying my makeup in a way that the bags under my eyes are less visible and the redness around my nose goes unnoticed. But as busy as we are, we must not forget the simple truth before us: as funeral directors, we cannot help others if we don’t first help ourselves.

We need to take time for ourselves. The busier we get, the more important this becomes. And I know, at times, it seems impossible. For example, when there are five families to meet and three bodies to lay out and seven death certificates to file all within a short time period. I’ve been there. But there are still small ways we can take time for ourselves throughout the day. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Five minutes of quiet time during work

There are times when I can’t leave the funeral home because I’m going from one meeting to another, but I almost always have at least five minutes between the two. If I can’t go anywhere due to time, I’ll sit in my car for a few minutes and listen to music. Sometimes I’ll sit in the office with the door closed and my eyes shut. I normally need just a few moments to clear my mind and unwind a bit. After all, we all deserve five minutes where we’re not thinking about churches and cremation processes.

2. Stretch

This may sound so funny, but this is huge. As I go throughout my day, I tend to notice that I carry my stress in my shoulders. As my day progresses so does my slouching (my mom would be so disappointed). It just takes a moment to take a deep breathe and stretch your muscles. It feels amazing and will prepare you to face your next task.

3. Do something for yourself at home

There are many nights when I come home from a late visitation and want nothing more than to hop into bed and try to get as much sleep as I can. But this is not good. When I go from work to home to bed to work, my days all scramble together. (Just reading that made you confused, didn’t it?)

First, this will make you feel as if you do nothing but work. Second, this will not be good for your job performance. If you can’t separate one day from another, mistakes are bound to be made (which ends up making us feel more stressed/depressed/horrible). So when I get home after a terribly busy day, I force myself to do something other than crawl into bed. I may read a chapter of a book or watch a little TV. I may even play a video game with my husband. I just make sure I do something to take my mind off of the funeral business and remind myself that I do have a life outside of work.

Final words

When you’re so busy, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Little things we can do for ourselves can make a world of difference. After all, as funeral directors we all know the devil is in the details. So go ahead, take a sip of that warm coffee and take a moment for yourself. Close your eyes and think of your favorite destination for a minute. You make such a difference in others’ lives. Now make a difference in yours. You deserve it.


Lauren Polanski, also known as Little Miss Funeral, is a twenty four year old licensed funeral director in New York State. Little Miss Funeral was started in March 2012 as a platform for Lauren to share her thoughts and ideas on the funeral industry.

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  1. Charles Girard

    I also think one should consider getting away to a sunnier environment as the
    busy season ebbs a bit. I find the lower light is depressing in itself and with
    the heavier workload and emotional drain that being “fully present” can bring,
    one can get burned out in such a way that 5 quiet minutes will not suffice
    in recharging ones batteries. I usually take a week to ten days in February
    to completely get away from the funeral home. I find as long as I am in the
    community where I work, I will never be able to disengage from my profession.